Ross Pointon the fighter—not the character—is back.
Despite being finished in two separate weight classes on The Ultimate Fighter season three by eventual winners Kendall Grove and Michael Bisping, Pointon’s Stroke-on-Trent, England “anyone, anytime” attitude (in addition to unprofessional antics like eating an entire pizza after weigh-ins) have made him one of the most memorable personalities during the show’s five-year Spike TV run.
Winless in two Octagon appearances following his reality stint and a sub-.500 record (6-10) in his four years as a professional left a lot to be desired though. So after a three-year break from the sport, “The Gladiator” plans to demonstrate that his skills have matched up with his character upon his return. He steps in the cage versus another TUF alumni, Dean Amasinger, for “Ultimate Challenge 21: Stand Your Ground” on June 25 at the Troxy in London.
"My last opponent Mark Brown never turned up, you know what I mean? That was in Ultimate Challenge. I know Amasinger is going to turn up. He's training hard,” the British San Shou Champion told Bleacher Report. "He's a good scalp for a first fight back. I'm gonna train hard. What will happen will happen on the night."
The 31-year-old last competed in the now-defunct Cage Rage promotion in May 2008 when he rebounded from a gruesome cut stoppage to Marius Zaromskis by ending Ross Mason’s night early with a heel hook. The victory was his second by way of tap out in three contests—surprising for a fighter that called submissions “silly” repeatedly on national TV.
He now calls the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif. home after joining the renowned gym three months ago to ensure his comeback will feature an ever-evolving Ross Pointon.
"When I got on The Ultimate Fighter, it was the wrong time in my career. I was still learning, whereas a lot of those guys came from good, solid camps. I believe now I've done the time,” he said. “Like I said, knowledge is power. It's experience—everything. I'm still learning. I've still got loads to learn. My game is getting stronger all the time being at AKA."
Pointon puts ego aside training alongside his former opponent, DREAM Welterweight Champion Marius Zaromskis, among other top fighters at AKA. It’s so his career can continue down the winning path he left it at before Cage Rage went under.
Posters were made for a world welterweight title bout in the organization versus champion Che Mills, but the bout never materialized. The resulting barren UK MMA landscape and money were reasons why “The Gladiator” walked away from prizefighting.
"Nothing was really going on. I thought I was worth more money than people were offering me. I chose to make money in other avenues, you know what I mean?” said Pointon, who promotes his eight fight card under his Gladiator Promotions UK banner on June 11—just two weeks before his fight. “But now I'm getting back into the fight game. Now I'm getting back to where I need to be, which is the UFC, do you know what I mean?"
Pointon travels from the home he shares with his girlfriend Christine—whom he credits with his increased maturity and focus—in Monterey an hour each way to be at AKA. He hopes his time at AKA bolsters UK MMA since he’ll be sharpening his techniques to represent England in the UFC as best he can and by taking training tips back to the gym he operates in his hometown in England. As a promoter, he provides a platform for young talent to flourish in their national scene before garnering international attention via the UFC like he once did.
Amidst all the changes, Pointon promises the biggest change is he’s not just a brawler anymore—he’s a full mixed martial artist.
Still, some things never change as illustrated by his parting words to Amasinger: "Good luck on June the 25th. Expect a war because I'm coming for a war."
Danny Acosta is the lead writer at FIGHT! Magazine. Follow him on twitter.com/acostaislegend